Bonum Certa Men Certa

Analogy: Novell Kills the Golden Goose for Its Golden Eggs

Various deals that involve Novell are occasionally being mentioned in news. We have been accumulating these until 'Do-No-Evil Saturday' arrives. That's when Novell usually gets a praise or two, just for a change, maybe a refreshing contrast. Among those items we were about to include the Capgemini deal with Novell, which is very explicitly a 'mixed source'. Here is a fragment from the press release.

Capgemini and Novell Enter Broad Mixed-Source Partnership

Capgemini endorses SUSE Linux Enterprise platform from Novell and provides consulting services and support for Novell open source and proprietary software


A lot has been said before (here and elsewhere) about the dangers of this 'mixed source' strategy. It bends Open Source and transforms it to fit a more closed and proprietary vocation, which also excludes the supplier. There is a long discussion about this over at Groklaw. It explains why Novell's "mixed source" model is truly a menace. It also explains why Capgemini made a mig mistake by choosing Novell.

So this is the dream. Mixed source. How foolish is that? You lose the primary benefit of Linux, namely the flexibility to do pretty much whatever you want with it as a customer. And it's bound to be a very short and bumpy ride. The Xandros deal, to my mind, makes litigation pretty much inevitable.

This whole Novell-Microsoft saga to me was kind of like a hostile takeover of GPL code, or an attempt at it, to neuter it so as to make that code go more proprietary whether it wants to or not. Folks who like the proprietary ways better and didn't much like the GPL, or don't understand its value, thought the license doesn't mean what it says or that they could get cute with it and make oodles and boodles of money by selling code that belongs to other people in ways those authors told them in their license they don't like.

Well, the GPL does mean what it says. And if you steal the Golden Egg and in so doing kill the Golden Goose that laid it, what have you accomplished? The development method that makes the code so much better is the Golden Goose, and the GPL is central to the health of that Goose. I suppose that is why Microsoft wants to get it neutered or eaten for dinner, but why would anyone else help them, particularly someone selling or wanting to buy Linux? You cut off your own future, or make it subject to Microsoft's whims.


In other news, Novell will hold a shareholders meeting within a few of month.

Novell, Inc. today announced that its 2007 annual meeting of stockholders will be held on Aug. 30, 2007.


Their last report was not quite so satisfactory and left much to be desired. Then again, Novell has not descended to 'SCO level'.

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